The New New School
Affordable Housing or Lack Thereof
A week before the New School was set to open its new 375,000-square-foot University Center at 65 Fifth Avenue, a water main burst at the corner of Fifth and 13th, flooding the new building’s cafe/event space and ground-floor classrooms—necessitating several months of extra work on the flooded areas. Nonetheless, the 16-story brass and glass building, which represents the largest construction project in the university’s history, will open its doors on Thursday. (Meanwhile, city workers continue their efforts to repair the broken water main out front, laboring in a giant pit that has shut down Fifth Avenue for more than a week.)
Shop and Awe
A NYCHA caretaker has been arrested after she allegedly took cash payments from individuals desperate to secure a placement in public housing. Magnolia Diaz, 49, who has been employed by NYCHA as a caretaker since 1997, supplemented her $40,019 annual income by collecting bribes from individuals whom she falsely promised to secure apartments for, according to the city Department of Investigation.
When Jamestown Properties bought the Falchi Building, a 600,000 square foot former warehouse and distribution center in Long Island City, for a reported $80 million in 2012, there was much speculation that the mixed-use industrial space would become an outer borough version of Chelsea market, which Jamestown also owns.
It’s a good thing that preppy style is timeless, because New Yorkers will have to make do with whatever madras blazers and toggle coats are currently in their closets—the city is about to lose its premier purveyor of repp ties, seersucker suits and kiwi green cashmere. J. Press confirmed today that it will close its Madison Avenue flagship while the building undergoes extensive renovations, as first reported by Ivy Style. The building-wide renovations, being done at the behest of the landlord, are expected to take about a year. Wherever will the city’s trust-funders go for their whale print pants and ribbon belts in the many months to come? (Well, there’s always Brooks Brothers, we guess.)
It Takes a Village
Daniel Kummer, chairperson of Brooklyn’s Community Board 6, appeared weary at last night’s meeting before debate even began on a motion concerning zoning variances requested by New York Methodist Hospital, in connection with a planned expansion of its Park Slope campus. Though the board would approve the plan by the end of the night, the meeting, like the expansion itself, proved somewhat contentious. (Some neighbors have implied that the expansion would lead to nothing less than the destruction of the neighborhood.)
NYU’s expansion plan suffered a setback on Tuesday when Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Donna Mills ruled that some aspects of the plan—which would add 2 million square feet to the university’s Greenwich Village campus—involve the alienation of public parkland and therefore require approval from the state legislature. The question is just how much of a setback the ruling will prove. Read More
Contact sports are best suited to youth. As athletes age, the battery of head-to-head competition, the elevated heart rates of high-pressure moments and the agony of defeat can become—if not quite deadly—at least intensely frustrating. Inter-generational contests are particularly hazardous to old-timers, who may be goaded into attempting dangerous feats of which they have long since failed to be capable. Such was the year for Manhattan’s high-end co-op market, in which sellers—inspired by high-priced closings on newer luxury condominiums, and perhaps recalling the days when co-ops represented the city’s creme de la creme—set prices that their properties had no chance of fetching.
Holly Leicht, the executive director of New Yorkers for Parks, announced today that she is leaving the non-profit to work at HUD, where she will be the federal agency’s regional director for New York and New Jersey, filling a position that has been vacant since former Bronx borough president and Office of Urban Affairs director Adolfo Carrion stepped down as Region 2 director in 2012.
Hurricane Sandy was a moment of reckoning for the city, and that reckoning has begun. The general consensus is that the city and the state must build back better, stronger and quite likely differently than before. Are sea walls appropriate? Should we let people live on barrier islands? What kind of improvements should be made to our transportation infrastructure, and how?
These are among the questions our leaders will be grappling with, and to help answer them, Gov. Cuomo has just announced three new commissions, NYS 2100, NYS Respond and NYS Ready. The commissioners are a who’s who of business, infrastructure, environmental, planning, utilities and emergency preparedness professionals and experts. As Gov. Cuomo made clear, their job is neither simple nor easy.
It’s starting to seem like Mayor Bloomberg is the only one who doesn’t think storm barriers are a worthwhile investment. Not only do Governor Cuomo, MTA chief Joe Lhota and both Jerry Nadler and Chuck Schumer think it’s a good idea, but so do 80 percent of New York City voters, according to a new Quinnipiac poll out today.
They were asked, specifically, if it was worth spending billions—no exact amount, or source of funds beyond the federal and state governments was given—on new waterfront infrastructure. Only 14 percent thought it was not worth the cost. Support was even higher when the pollsters asked if the cost was justified it if the storm protections could “reduce the cost of disruption and restoration.” Then, 88 percent supported the new infrastructure, compared to 6 percent who did not support.